Techniques used to trap, band, and determine age of Canvasbacks during winter on Chesapeake Bay are presented. Canvasbacks were captured with welded-wire traps baited with corn. Two trap designs were used and traps and trapping techniques are described. Ducks were dipnetted from traps and held in modified poultry crates that provided seclusion and ventilation and allowed birds to dry unsoiled. Carney's (1964) wing plumage methodology was found most efficient in determining age of Canvasbacks during large-scale bandings. This technique was rapid and was easily taught to inexperienced personnel. In contrast, the cloacal technique could be performed efficiently only by experienced and skillful banders. Band wear was observed to vary widely on individual birds and rounding of bands was recognized as an important technique in extending band life. Bands were placed upside down on the tarsus so that wear along the upper edge would be less likely to destroy band numbers. In 5 winter seasons, over 17,000 Canvasbacks were captured. Mortality rate for the program was .3%.
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Techniques for trapping, aging, and banding wintering canvasbacks